Smile, you’re on Google camera!

Google Street View Canada went live today, which means that if you live in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, you can now spend countless hours looking online at all the places you can go look at first hand.

This is one of the better views of the Google camera car that trundled around Vancouver this past Spring (judging by the cheery blossoms), popping 360 vistas of city streets (and a few alleys). It hasn’t been a perfect launch however, as David Loukidelis, BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has already launched a number of complaints regarding Google’s privacy measures not working as promised (I caught a shot at Thurlow and Robson, where a cab license plate is visible. Nearby, a city bus’ plate is clear, but the automated blurring system incorrectly blurred the turn signal light.) It doesn’t sound like he’s looking to pull the plug however, rather he’s just pushing for people’s protection.

“We acknowledge that this tool may be of interest to people, but at the same time under the privacy law in B.C. there are issues that have to be addressed.”

See anything cool? Anything touristy? Google maps has a link tool that will create a link for exactly the view you’re looking at – just use a link shrinker. Google map links are huge!

7 Comments so far

  1. rbo (unregistered) on October 8th, 2009 @ 12:43 am

    I’ve found some pretty good views of a camera car heading over the Alex Fraser Bridge – – I guess they had a bit of a convoy goin’ on.

  2. Graham Ballantyne (unregistered) on October 8th, 2009 @ 9:07 am

    Here’s one Google car catching another on Columbia Street in New West:

  3. nc (unregistered) on October 8th, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    Not sure if it’s ‘cool’ or not, but there’s a picture of me & my 2 boys in there… I remember when this happened. As soon as I realized what the car with the strange contraption on top was, I thought ‘uh-oh’ and sure enough there we are a few months later. Kind of weird & I can definitely understand the privacy concerns. That said, gotta say the Street View is pretty slick!

  4. Graham Ballantyne (unregistered) on October 8th, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    I don’t get all the privacy handwaving; it you’re outside in public (and your yard, etc. probably counts) then you have no expectation of privacy. There’s no difference between me walking up to you and taking a picture and Google doing it (except for a much wider audience). That plus the face-blurring make it pretty much a non-issue.

  5. nc (unregistered) on October 9th, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    A non-issue if the face blurring works! Which in our case didn’t. I really don’t care a heck of a lot; after all, we’re just walking outside so no big deal. It is kind of weird to see yourself though, & where anyone anywhere can see you too! But yeah, why would you expect privacy if you’re out and about?

  6. castewar on October 9th, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    I can kind of understand it – while it is hard to argue an expectation of privacy when walking around in public, at the same time, Google maps can be seen by the world, and those images are locked in for years. Unlike, say, a news photo however, Google a) tries to blur faces (with, let’s say, 99% accuracy) and b) has, apparently, a system in place for people to go, “Hey! My face! Get me out of there!” and they will.

    It’s not a perfect system, but it sounds about as good as it can get for all involved.

    Nice finds on the camera car photos – I spent an hour trying to think of all the buildings I knew of with big windows. The one I found was the best I got, and I found it within the first 5 minutes – I should have stopped then.

  7. castewar on October 9th, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    So far, no Vancouverites have been spotted giving the camera cars a Trudeau – but boy, do they love doing it in Toronto and Montreal.

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